Mary Pal Designs

Chinese Hospitality

As this is my third trip to China, I really should not be surprised at the gracious reception I meet everywhere. Of course, the organizers of my China Fashion & Colour Association hosts treated the artists royally, taking us to fabulous restaurants and on exciting excursions, and my family has toured me through all the hot Beijing spots, but everywhere I go, I am struck by the friendliness of the Chinese and their willingness to overlook my pathetic few phrases. I have to say this is the safest I have felt travelling anywhere in the world - the crime rate is super low and no one is afraid to walk the streets alone after midnight. I'm not saying crimes don't happen, but it is a far cry from what we experience in North America. 

That being said, the traffic is insane! I cannot believe I have not witnessed a single accident! Everyone weaves everywhere: cars, buses, scooters, bicycles, pedestrians.  No one wears safety gear: no seatbelts, no helmets, and only an occasional acknowledgment of the colour of the traffic light. And somehow it all works! But I have to say, I am terrified riding on the back of my son's scooter, dodging all the other vehicles and people, like a bizarre game of Frogger. Lots of horns beeping, but just to let the guy ahead or next to you know where you are. Crazy.

I have been so busy exploring Beijing that there hasn't been much time to blog, but here are some highlights from the past week.

I spent a day at the Beijing Institute of Clothing Technology with Yuanshan Jin.

I spent a day at the Beijing Institute of Clothing Technology with Yuanshan Jin.

...and a closeup of some of those petals made of folded organza.

...and a closeup of some of those petals made of folded organza.

Of COURSE I had to enjoy some incredible Peking Duck at one of Matt & Ching's favourite places!

Of COURSE I had to enjoy some incredible Peking Duck at one of Matt & Ching's favourite places!

The graduate Fashion Technology students made some very cool garments!

The graduate Fashion Technology students made some very cool garments!

This was an incredibly delicious dish!

This was an incredibly delicious dish!

Dinner with Miss Jin, Mr. Kane, Matt & Ching and two CFCA staff at a fashionable kebab place.

Dinner with Miss Jin, Mr. Kane, Matt & Ching and two CFCA staff at a fashionable kebab place.

Advisable to ask what it is you're eating ... like aorta.

Advisable to ask what it is you're eating ... like aorta.

One of Miss Jin's incredible quilts, in her studio.

One of Miss Jin's incredible quilts, in her studio.

Intended to resemble a brick of coal, this delicious rice side dish is served in a copper pan to resemble a coal scoop.

Intended to resemble a brick of coal, this delicious rice side dish is served in a copper pan to resemble a coal scoop.

And this yummy morsel is a silkworm bug. (Nope, didn't eat that one).

And this yummy morsel is a silkworm bug. (Nope, didn't eat that one).